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Healthy Holiday Eating

Summary

Don't let the holidays be a barrier to living a healthy lifestyle! The good news is that the holiday season doesn’t have to throw your diet off track. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the festivities while keeping your health in check.

It’s no secret that holiday living doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with healthy living! Family get-togethers and parties can tax the arteries and strain the waistline. By eating just 200 extra calories a day — a piece of pecan pie or a tumbler of eggnog here, a couple of butter cookies there — you could pack on 2 to 5 pounds over this five- to six-week period. That doesn’t sound like much, except few people shed that extra weight in the following months and years.

The good news is that the holiday season doesn’t have to throw your diet off track. There are many ways to enjoy the festivities while still sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Some tips include:

  • Start your day with a nutritious breakfast.
  • Keep your body hydrated by sipping on water throughout the day.
  • Find healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes.
  • When preparing meals, explore healthier alternatives for dishes you enjoy: Use less butter on green bean casseroles, yogurt instead of mayonnaise in recipes, or bake the turkey instead of deep frying it.
  • Opt for homemade instead of processed foods.
  • Canned, processed and premade foods contain excess salt and sugar. Reduce your sodium intake by making your soups and reduce your sugar by making cranberry sauce from scratch.
  • Add more vegetables, such as roasted asparagus, roasted carrots and roasted sweet potatoes.

To support your health as you celebrate the holiday season during social gatherings, try these helpful hints:

  • It’s all about moderation – don’t eat everything on the buffet table!
  • Slow down during meals – studies show eating slowly gives your stomach enough time to send hormonal signals to the brain telling you you’re full.
  • Remember portion control – eat small snacks during the day and smaller meals; use smaller plates.
  • Don’t stand next to the food table. Socialize instead – focus on people.
  • Be wary of drinks laden with calories, such as eggnog, sugary coffees and alcohol – drink seltzer water instead.

Regular physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. A brisk walk after meals can get your metabolism going and can help you burn off some of the extra calories.

Make it a family affair to avoid weight gain during the holidays so you don’t have to make losing weight a New Year’s resolution AGAIN!

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